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By Jade Braham

Outdoor swimming can be enjoyed all year round in the UK thanks to an array of lidos, many of which are heated and Art Deco in design.

These days some of the best lidos in the UK come with spas and restaurants attached, so you can make a real day of it.

Lidos which aren’t geothermal can still be braved with the help of a wetsuit or a regular swimsuit in the warmer months.

As we look ahead to summer, these are the best lidos and outdoor swimming pools in the UK, from the Scottish Highlands to the Cornish coast.

Best lidos and outdoor swimming pools in the UK

Jubilee Pool, Penzance

Jubilee Pool Penzance
Credit: Jubilee Pool/Adam Gibbard

The Jubilee Pool (also pictured in the main image) is the biggest seawater lido in the UK and one of the most beautiful. Its Art Deco design has earned it listed status, and since 2017 it’s been run as a charity by the local community. It has a non-heated main swimming pool, as well as a heated geothermal pool for year-round use. There is also a poolside cafe, plus an in-house therapist on hand if you want to book a massage, facial or reflexology session before or after your swim.

Open Tuesday to Sunday, hours dependant on weather and time of year

Prices start from £6 for adults

Visit the Jubilee Pool website here

Lido Spa & Restaurant, Bristol

Bristol Lido best outdoor swimming pools in UK
Credit: Bristol Lido

Opened in 1849, Bristol Lido is the oldest outdoor heated pool in Britain, and it’s thanks to locals we still have it today. They fought for over 13 years to have the pool preserved. Unless you’re in the know, it’s easy to visit Bristol and never visit The Lido as these Victorian baths are tucked out of sight in a glamorous sheltered courtyard. You need to be a member or book a spa package to visit. Facilities include an award-winning restaurant, outdoor hot tub, steam room, sauna and massage rooms and poolside bar. It is the sister pool to Thames Lido, listed below.

Two hour pre-booked slots are available daily from 10am-3pm

Prices start from £40pp for a swim & two-course lunch (includes use of hot tub, sauna and steam rooms)

Visit the Bristol Lido website here

Saltdean Lido, Brighton

Saltdean Lido
Credit: Saltdean Lido

Saltdean Lido in Brighton reopened in 2017 after being closed for a five-year restoration project. It’s now one of the best examples of Britain’s modernist architecture and the UK’s only Grade II listed lido. Once described by Historic England as ‘one of the seven wonders of the English seaside’, there is a 40-metre heated pool, lawns for sunbathing and a children’s play area. A second campaign is underway to restore the historic building and add event spaces, a library, café and exercise space to the complex.

Open seasonally, check website for more details

Prices start from £8 for adults

Visit the Saltdean Lido website here

Thames Lido, Reading

Thames Lido restaurant
Credit: Thames Lido

Thames Lido is an open-air swimming pool that has been welcoming bathers since 1902, and is believed to be the oldest surviving pool from the Edwardian era. Today you’ll find a 25-metre pool heated to 26C throughout the year. There is a restaurant serving Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine, which is meant to add to the ‘holiday’ feeling of the lido. The spa also offers treatments and massages.

Like the Bristol Lido, you must pre-book a two-hour session between 10am and 3pm

Prices start from £20pp for a swim, sauna and hot tub

Visit the Thames Lido website here

Lido Ponty, Pontypridd, South Wales

Lido Ponty Wales
Credit: Lido Ponty

Lido Ponty is considered the National Lido of Wales, and Tom Jones – one of Wales’ most famous singers – used to be a regular visitor here. It first opened in the early 20th century, but recently underwent a £6.3 million restoration. There are now three heated swimming pools, an adventure play area, café, lawns and a woodland. You can even buy inflatable toys here. Despite the update, the lido hasn’t forgotten its heritage and still has the original 1920s green wooden changing rooms and turnstiles.

Open seasonally, check website for more details

Prices start from £2 per adult. Children under 16 go free

Visit the Lido Ponty website here

Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds, London

Hampstead Heath Pond
Credit: Unsplash

London’s Hampstead Heath is home to three freshwater ponds and one lido created as reservoirs in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, the Mixed Pond – for mixed bathing – is the only swimming site on the Hampstead side of the heath, near Hampstead Heath railway station. There are two single-sex swimming pools, the Ladies’ and Men’s Ponds, on the Highgate side. The Ladies’ and Men’s Ponds are bigger than the Mixed Pond, meaning it is usually less crowded. Even when the lido is closed, the area is a serene haven with great park walks. While the lakes make for some beautiful photography.

Open daily from 7am to 8.30pm, booking required

Prices start from £4.05 for adults

Visit the Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds website here

Hathersage Swimming Pool, Peak District

Hathersage Swimming Pool
Credit: Hathersage Swimming Pool

Hathersage is perhaps an unusual place to have a lido in the UK, as it’s located in a tiny village. But this 33ft open air swimming pool in the Peak District has been there since 1936. It reopened in 2020 following an extensive refurbishment and has a pool heated to 28C, hot poolside showers, cafe, lawns and views of the surrounding hills. Night swims to live music can also be booked.

Open daily, hours dependant on weather and time of year

Prices start from £7 for adults

Visit the Hathersage Swimming Pool website here

Tinside Lido, Plymouth

Tinside Lido
Credit: Tinside Lido

Protruding out into Plymouth Harbour is Tinside Lido, a 55-metre saltwater pool which dates back to the 1930s. Art Deco in style, it has retro striped blue tiling, original changing rooms and a fountain in the middle of the swimming pool. The site is open all summer and has a café and sun deck where dance performances, cinema screenings and live music are held. Due to its proximity to the harbour, swimmers can often see boats sailing past.

Open seasonally May to September, check website for more details

Prices start from £5 for adults

Visit the Tinside Lido website here

Knockbracken Reservoir Lido, Belfast

Knockbracken Reservoir Lido
Credit: Let’s Go Hydro

Knockenbrack Reservoir Lido is a part of the Let’s Go Hydro aqua park near Belfast. On the site there is a holiday resort and Ireland’s biggest waterpark with its own beach. Due to its location, it is advised you wear a wetsuit here in the colder months as it’s unsurprisingly nippy. Once you get over the weather, you can try your hand at kayaking or wakeboarding, as well as swimming. The lido also holds floating cinema nights where you settle on a giant inflatable ring to watch classic films.

Open seasonally from April, check the website for opening hours

Prices start from £7 a session

Visit the Let’s Go Hydro website here

Stonehaven Open Air Pool, Aberdeenshire

Stonehaven Open Air Pool
Credit: Stonehaven Open Air Pool

Stonehaven Bay, for which the outdoor pool is named, feeds seawater directly into the pool, which is then heated to a pleasant 29C. This listed Art Deco swimming pool is known for being the UK’s most northern lido. The most dedicated swimmers will love this lido for its Olympic size. While those looking for a bit of holiday fun will want to try the water slide, Aqua Zumba, or moonlight swimming sessions accompanied by disco music that run every Wednesday during the summer. Alongside the pool, there’s the Splash café serving homebakes, paddling pool for children and a sun terrace that is apparently ‘often warmer than the Med’.

Open seasonally, check website for more details

Prices start from £5.30 for adults

Visit the Stonehaven Open Air Pool website here

Gourock Outdoor Pool, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Gourock Outdoor Pool
Credit: Gourock Outdoor Pool

Scotland’s oldest saltwater swimming pool, Gourock first opened to the public in 1909. Since then, it has been the subject of a £1.8 million restoration project that gave the site a gym, contemporary changing facilities and disabled access. The Clyde Estuary flows past the swimming pool, offering spectacular views. Unlike a lot of other outdoor pools in the UK, this one has diving boards. Unique to Gourock Outdoor Pool, swimmers have the option to partake in a starlight swim. How blissful does that sound.

Open seasonally, check website for more details

Prices start from £5 for adults

Visit the Gourock Outdoor Pool website here

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